Participation trophies just collect dust

Morgan Dowler | Cartoonist

By The Editorial Board

Flash back to the time when you were on the little league team of soccer, baseball, softball or whichever sport you chose to play. The season is coming to an end, so of course there’s an award ceremony to recognize the most valuable player, the best coach and the teams that won the playoffs. There’s merit to those awards due to their effort, but simply showing up in a uniform shouldn’t mean you also need to be rewarded.

At the end of the day, it seems we continue to congratulate the bare minimum with participation trophies that just end up collecting dust. A yearslong debate, society is slowly understanding how the effect of making everyone feel like a winner isn’t reality. A child, meaning a human who is under the age of 10, sometimes needs the extra boost of self-confidence, but continuing this practice past a certain point is only setting that person up for disappointment.

Just because you receive an A in the class doesn’t mean you get a pizza party. Just because you apply for a job position doesn’t mean you get hired. Your participation doesn’t guarantee any symbol of accomplishment — you’ve got to earn that.

Hard work is synonymous with winning; however, a participation trophy implies you win by not showing much effort. Everyone has a different level of hard work, and their effort is valid, but let the people who go the extra mile receive an award rather than laying down a general blanket for everyone. Learn the value of losing and coming in second place. By showcasing everyone who played, the feeling of success and winning gets slightly diminished.

Losing provides the opportunity to become better. Without being told that you lost or leaving a ceremony empty handed, you are on an unbeaten path that will forever leave you wanting a title. It’s time to drop the entitlement and enter the adult world where participation is a normal requirement, not just a high suggestion. Every application for a position will not end in a job offer. Every completed project will not end in a promotion. And your participation trophy shouldn’t lead you to believe that.

It’s time to stop thinking that your participation is worthy of noting, when in reality, you should have been doing that in the first place. Doing the most and succeeding at the next level is where an award comes into play. Build up those character skills and realize that kids join sports teams because they build social skills and get to see their friends. If they get a trophy out of it, great, but don’t give them something that will eventually just collect dust on a shelf and build long-term problems.